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Norwich panto star’s honest speech about his mental health battles

PUBLISHED: 15:33 17 April 2020 | UPDATED: 15:33 17 April 2020

Joe Tracini as Buttons in Cinderella at Norwich Theatre Royal Picture: Richard Jarmy

Joe Tracini as Buttons in Cinderella at Norwich Theatre Royal Picture: Richard Jarmy

smile@richardjarmy.co.uk

He spent the festive season entertaining families in Norfolk and Joe Tracini made sure of a lasting legacy in his home county, thanks to an inspiring speech about living with borderline personality disorder.

Actor Mr Tracini, 31, has made national headlines in the past year as he has bravely revealed his battles with mental health issues and suicide attempts in an effort to show that it is possible to bounce back from difficult times.

Around 350 people who attended a special all-day event at Open in Norwich heard Mr Tracini’s uncompromising personal story recently, in a show he entitled ‘10 Things I Hate About Me’.

The Gorleston-born actor, magician and entertainer - best know for a three-year stint on Channel Four soap Hollyoaks - lived in the Great Yarmouth area until the age of three and returned to play Buttons in the Norwich Theatre Royal panto Cinderella in December and January.

Following that homecoming, Mr Tracini delivered his speech at the Open Up event to coincide with a campaign of the same name run by the Eastern Daily Press, focusing on mental health issues.

Actor and comedian Joe Tracini spoke candidly about his mental health struggles at the Open Up event at Open in Norwich Picture: Neil DidsburyActor and comedian Joe Tracini spoke candidly about his mental health struggles at the Open Up event at Open in Norwich Picture: Neil Didsbury

“They’re the nine symptoms of BPD that I’ve written down,” Mr Tracini told his enthralled audience as his speech to come towards its conclusion. “I’ve never really understood them probably until about six months ago. Because of those: I hate me.

“And I shouldn’t really be ashamed of hating me because that’s a symptom of the symptoms. But that isn’t a choice and it’s also not on the list of psychiatrist’s issues, so I have to find a reason to be able to live with hating me.

“And this is the reason that I came up with because even though they’re the nine symptoms of BPD, I also think they’re the nine symptoms of life, because we all feel alone sometimes and we all worry about relationships.”

MORE: Comedian joins Not Alone campaign to encourage mental health support

Actor and comedian Joe Tracini spoke candidly about his mental health struggles at the Open Up event at Open in Norwich Picture: Neil DidsburyActor and comedian Joe Tracini spoke candidly about his mental health struggles at the Open Up event at Open in Norwich Picture: Neil Didsbury

Talking about his recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, Mr Tracini’s speech was full of good humour, including stories of how he flew to New York without any pants, throwing an eclair at a taxi and feeling as empty as a hollow chocolate Santa at Christmas.

- You can watch his inspiring presentation in full in the video above

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